Sam Underhill keen to seal spot in Lions squad

Date published: May 1 2021

Sam Underhill will complete a half-century of Bath appearances knowing a strong performance against Montpellier on Saturday could secure a place in the British and Irish Lions squad.

Warren Gatland will be watching the Challenge Cup semi-final from the stands at the Recreation Ground just five days before he names his 36-strong party for the summer series against South Africa.

Anthony Watson and Taulupe Faletau also start and are certain to be picked by Gatland, but Underhill would benefit from a timely reminder of his destructive power as a big-hitting flanker having missed the Six Nations because of a hip injury.

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The England back-row plays in a ferociously competitive position where the Lions are populated with a number of high-quality options.

Bath won the Challenge Cup in 2008, while Montpellier followed in their footsteps in 2016. Bath won both previous meetings between the rivals in 2006/07.

Montpellier are enduring a troubled season and occupy a lowly 12th place in the Top 14, forcing them to battle to avoid a relegation play-off match.

“What’s important is that there is a real desire for the group to win a trophy for themselves,” said Bath boss Stuart Hooper. “With that comes the history, but more importantly it’s a motivation about what they can achieve together.”